Hot Bytes: Signs of the times

The latest surveys, Internet demographics and predictions …

Canucks surf globally, shop locally

More than two-thirds of Canadian online shoppers now prefer to buy from Canadian retail sites, and 52 percent made their last purchase from a Canadian site, according to a new survey from Deloitte & Touche/Angus Reid Group. In March 1999, only 38 percent of Canadians had made a recent purchase from a domestic site, with most people preferring to shop at US and international sites. The annual online spend for Canada is now $1.65 billion, an increase of $450 million over last year. However, nearly three-quarters of Canadian Internet users remain concerned about online security and privacy protection and say these fears prevent them from shopping on the Internet.

Source: NUA Internet Surveys

Internet adoption slowing in US

A report titled Cybercitizen sea change: declining growth in US adults online from Cyber Dialogue finds that the rate of Internet adoption in the US has slowed considerably reflecting the gradual maturing of the market. The drop in pace is not a result of seasonal aberration, but is due to three major factors. The first is the so-called digital divide, those adults who cannot afford a PC or Internet access. Secondly, one third of US adults believe they have no need for the Internet and have no intention of getting online. Thirdly, a significant number of US adults have tried the Internet and found they have no use for it — 27.7 million, up from 9.4 million in 1997. This trend shows that online marketers and entrepreneurs should not rely on an influx of new users when launching new e-commerce initiatives. They should shift emphasis to customer retention, cross-selling and concentrate on selling larger amounts of items to existing customers.

Source: NUA Internet Surveys

B2B Boom Looms

One quarter of all business-to-business (b2b) purchases will be made online by 2003, according to a new report from Boston Consulting Group. These transactions will be worth $2.8 trillion (U.S.), based on an expected growth rate of 33 percent per year from 1998 to 2003. B2B commerce in the U.S. was worth $671 million (U.S.) in 1998, with almost $100 million (U.S.) coming from Internet-based transactions and the remainder from Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) between companies. Boston Consulting predicts that this trend will have reversed in three years time, with three times as much online b2b e-commerce being carried out over the Internet. The United States and Canada will continue to lead the way in b2b online business, and $3 trillion (U.S.) should be raised yearly in this region, compared with $1.8 trillion (U.S.) in the rest of the world.

Source: NUA Internet Surveys

Who’s in control here?

A recent report from Forrester Research finds that almost 90 percent of online consumers want to be able to control the use of their personal data after it has been collected by online merchants. The study found that regardless of age, gender, socioeconomic background or length of time spent online, the desire to remain anonymous is strong across the board. Eighty percent of consumers would welcome legislation which prevents merchants from selling their personal information to a third party, and 50 percent are willing to actively lobby the government to make it happen.

Source: NUA Internet Surveys

Customer service? What customer service?

A new report from Jupiter Communications finds that despite the critical need for more substantial customer support, the number of email queries being answered is decreasing. The survey sent customer inquiries to the top 125 Web sites in the retail, travel, content, financial services and consumer brands sectors and found that customer service failure rates are higher than last year. While half of shopping sites and 40 percent of travel sites responded in one day, shopping sites demonstrated a 40 percent failure rate, up from 28 percent last year, while travel sites had a 48 percent failure rate, up from 38 percent. Just under half of all Web sites tested, 46 percent, either did not respond for five days or more, did not respond at all, or did not have contact details on their site for customer queries. In the same survey last year, this figure was 38 percent. Jupiter recommends that online marketers start implementing multi-channel automated strategies to retain existing customers.

Source: NUA Internet Surveys

Europe mobilizing for the future

The future is mobile, and Europe is in the vanguard as wireless equipment makers, network operators and service providers jockey for position. European research firm Durlacher predicts that the European “m-commerce” market will grow from $328 million (U.S.) last year to about $23 million (U.S.) by 2003, noting that Europe is currently ahead of the U.S. by about two years in terms of market development. The number of global cell phone users is estimated at about 375 million, compared with about 160 million fixed Internet connections worldwide, and that number is expected to jump to 535 million by 2003. Industry analysts predict that more than 10 percent of e-commerce will be conducted through mobile handsets within three years, and that more than 600 million Internet-ready mobile phones will be sold between 2002 and 2005.

Source: NewsScan Daily

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